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Freedom Communications

October 10, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
The owner of the Orange County Register has increased his holdings in Southern California by agreeing to buy the Press-Enterprise, which circulates in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Freedom Communications Holdings Inc. said it will pay $27.25 million to acquire the newspaper from A.H. Belo Corp., a Dallas company that has owned it for 16 years. The acquisition is the latest in a series of moves by Freedom owner Aaron Kushner. Since buying Freedom last year, he bucked a nationwide trend of newspaper downsizing by doubling the Register's staff of reporters and editors, adding regional editions and launching a new five-day daily, the Long Beach Register.
October 9, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Two former top executives have sued Freedom Communications Inc., owner of the Orange County Register, saying the company has failed to pay them a combined $4.5 million in severance pay. Mitchell Stern, Freedom's chief executive from 2010 to 2012, and Mark McEachen, its chief financial officer during that time, stayed with the company after it was acquired by entrepreneur Aaron Kushner in July 2012. The executives said in an arbitration filing that they agreed to postpone their severance payments - $3.3 million to Stern and $1.2 million to McEachen - because of the company's "precarious finances.
July 26, 2012 | By William D'Urso and Walter Hamilton, Los Angeles Times
The Orange County Register officially has a new owner. The Boston investment group 2100 Trust, headed by former greeting card company executive Aaron Kushner, has purchased Freedom Communications Inc., an Irvine company that owns the Register and six smaller daily newspapers. The sale was announced last month and completed Wednesday, according to a statement from Freedom. Terms of the sale were not disclosed. According to the statement, the Freedom name will be retained for the newspaper group.
June 12, 2012 | By Walter Hamilton and James Rainey, Los Angeles Times
The Orange County Register and six other daily newspapers have been sold to a Boston investment group in what is expected to be the final sale of properties owned by Freedom Communications Holdings Inc. in Irvine. Terms of the sale to the investment group 2100 Trust were not disclosed. The group is headed by Aaron Kushner, a Stanford University graduate who formerly headed a greeting card company. His investment group sought unsuccessfully to buy the Boston Globe last year. "We believe that newspapers are essential to the fabric of our lives and are excited to own and grow these unique institutions," Kushner, 39, said in a statement.
June 2, 2012 | By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times
Orange County Register parent Freedom Communications Inc. agreed to sell 21 small newspapers in Florida and North Carolina and warned a group of corporate employees that they may lose their jobs as the company gets smaller. Freedom did not disclose the terms of the sale to Halifax Media Group of Daytona Beach, Fla. Halifax said the staffs of the Florida and North Carolina papers would be offered jobs. "We wanted to make sure that current employees would transition to the new owner and that the new owner shared our view of the importance of community journalism," Freedom Executive Vice President Mark McEachen said in a statement Friday.
May 11, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
The U-T San Diego newspaper is in talks to buy the daily Orange County Register. U-T Chief Executive John Lynch confirmed that executives at his newspaper, formerly known as the San Diego Union-Tribune, have "had discussions" with Irvine-based Freedom Communications, which owns the Register. But although several recent reports have suggested that a deal is nearing, Lynch stopped short of saying that. "Nothing is certain as we attempt to expand our holding in L.A. and O.C.," Lynch wrote in an e-mail.
June 16, 2011 | By Walter Hamilton, Los Angeles Times
Buyout negotiations between the parent of the Orange County Register and MediaNews Group Inc. have collapsed over a disagreement about the value of the company, according to a person familiar with the matter. The Denver company, which owns 29 California newspapers, is believed to have offered about $700 million to purchase Freedom Communications Inc. The negotiations had been viewed as a potential first step toward an expected wave of consolidation in the region's newspaper industry as companies look for new ways to reduce overhead costs.
March 12, 2011 | By Walter Hamilton, Los Angeles Times
The possible sale of the Orange County Register's parent company could mark the start of a cost-cutting wave of consolidation of rival newspapers within regional markets. It once was rare for newspapers to team up with nearby competitors, in part because of antitrust concerns. But after several years of aggressively slashing expenses, many publishers see such consolidation as the response to a slide in advertising revenue, which has continued this year despite a firming of the overall U.S. economy, experts say. Although the newspapers would retain their separate identities, acquirers could save millions of dollars by consolidating administrative operations.
March 11, 2011 | By Walter Hamilton, Los Angeles Times
The parent company of the Orange County Register has begun an auction seeking to sell all or part of the Irvine-based owner of 100 newspapers and eight TV stations. Freedom Communications Inc., which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year, was expected to receive bids from a number of suitors before a Thursday deadline set by the company. A spokesman for Freedom declined to provide any information on bids received. Among firms considered likely to make bids for parts of Freedom were Tribune Co. ?
February 5, 2011 | James Rainey
Not so many years ago, it wasn't very hard to understand ownership of Southern California's newspapers. The Chandlers had the Los Angeles Times, the Hoiles family controlled the Orange County Register, the Copleys reigned at the San Diego Union-Tribune and MediaNews Group, a chain run by William Dean Singleton, owned a passel of suburban dailies. Now those durable names have sold out or, in the case of Singleton in recent weeks, been pushed aside. The companies that bought the papers have fallen into deep financial distress.
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